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Twice As Nice
By Maile Pingel | Photo: Portrait by Craig Lee | Interior photo by Douglas Friedman | January 25, 2018
A glimpse into the home life of designers Will Wick and Jen Kelly Wick reveals a synthesis and beauty that only two top talents could create.
When Will Wick and Jen Kelly Wick moved into their waterfront Sausalito home about a year ago, they knew it was the retreat they needed. After years of living in San Francisco, the new home offered a more relaxed lifestyle for the family of six. “I love getting on the Golden Gate Bridge and coming home to our view—it’s transporting,” says Jen, vice president of creative development at RH. “It’s a cozy house with the kids and our rescue dog, Lucio.” The home is filled with the couple’s vintage furnishings, including pieces by Karl Springer and Sérgio Rodrigues, and is a nod to how they met: Jen was helping at a friend’s antique shop, which happened to be adjacent to Will’s showroom, Battersea. “It was love at first sight,” Jen recalls, “but we were friends first.”
That friendship, grounded in the couple’s respect for each other’s creativity, bubbles through their conversation. “We come to the table with different tastes, but we have a similar aesthetic,” explains Will, who launched his eponymous firm in 2000 and quickly became one of the country’s most coveted designers. “I credit Jen with my design improving,” he adds. “Her approach isn’t about theory, but about what feels right, whereas I was approaching design from a more pragmatic way.” The couple regularly bounces ideas off each other, which has broadened their perspectives.
“We’ve grown a lot, but we also keep each other in check,” explains Jen. “Will calms me down and I challenge him, like getting him to use more color.” To their delight, though less to their children’s, they routinely stay up late, excitedly dreaming up ideas. “The kids tell us to go to bed,” Jen adds, laughing. The kids, it turns out, sometimes have to harness their parents’ opinions, one child even asking, “Can we have one meal where you don’t redesign the entire restaurant or ask them to dim the lights?” (A certain restaurateur is now known to lower the lights when he sees the Wicks arriving.)
The family can often be found at Marlowe and the Presidio Social Club in the city, where they also scout design shops like March on Sacramento Street, or closer to home at Copita in Sausalito, but they most relish entertaining at home. “We love spending time together,” adds Jen, noting that they travel as a couple several times a year. “Having your own life keeps things interesting, but time alone together is key.”
“It reinvigorates us,” adds Will. “We love going off the beaten path to boutique hotels like the Other Side on Eleuthera.” The couple frequents the Bahamas (they married on Harbour Island), but also enjoy Paris, Mexico City and New Orleans. Not surprisingly, travel influences their outlook. Jen, who is currently designing the new RH gallery in New York City’s Meatpacking District, is especially fond of the company’s new bamboo collection, a collaboration with designer John Birch from Wyeth (and yes, they have several RH pieces at home), while Will has just designed a tile for Exquisite Surfaces’ ES/20 anniversary collection inspired by global textiles. He’s also joined online decorating service Decorist and is re-envisioning the Yountville tasting room of Handwritten Wines.
How do they manage it all? “Balance and just staying in communication,” says Will. Evenings at home, staring out at the San Francisco skyline, help too.